House: putting musicians back to work
A focus on entertainment and short-term events could help to boost the island's economy, MPs heard.
Zane DeSilva, the tourism and transport minister, said Bermuda's musicians would soon be “put back to work”.
During an economic debate in the House of Assembly on Friday, he challenged the notion that there was a lack of confidence in the island.
He said: “Rosewood Tucker's Point put $25 million into revamping their hotel, they currently have six houses being built and, might I say, by wealthy businessmen.
“Wealthy businessmen do not invest in places where there's a lack of confidence.”
MPs heard that developers involved in the St Regis resort “loved Bermuda so much they purchased St George's Club” and that the buyers of the Fairmont Southampton — Miami-based Gencom — planned renovations valued at between $150 million and $200 million.
Mr DeSilva added that the Azura resort had “so much confidence they're looking at buying the adjacent property”.
The tourism minister said: “We have to look at entertainment in this country and we have to look at putting our musicians back to work and you can look forward to that in the future.”
He added that more would be revealed on Monday.
Susan Jackson, the One Bermuda Alliance whip, said earlier that the country benefited from events like the America's Cup.
She told the House: “In my observation, Bermuda does very well with these short bursts of economic stimulation where people come to this island, they bring all of their wealth to the island, they have fun on our shores.
“They absolutely love our environment, they enjoy being with the people and then they go, so there's not this huge desire to have to deal with the immigration issues, there isn't a huge strain on the infrastructure and Bermuda seems to fare well.”
Ms Jackson added that other events including the PGA Tour Bermuda Championship and the MS Amlin World Triathlon had similar potential to “provide some sort of economic pulse into the community without creating any long-term after effects”.
Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, explained that it was important to look at different templates for the economy.
He said: “The orthodox model that Bermuda has run under, which is still a very crucial engine and structure that we have, has not served everyone fairly.”
Mr Roban, who is also the Minister of Home Affairs, said that co-operative ventures were under consideration by the Government.
The Budget Statement for 2020-21 included a $1.5 million pledge over two years towards the establishment of a co-operative fishery with a base at Southside, St David's.
Mr Roban added that further diversification of the economy was expected to include greater moves in the commercial space industry.
Scott Pearman, the Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, said that there was “much to commend” about the Budget Statement.
But he added: “One of the things that is regrettable, is that there is not a great deal of economic stimulus, and there is not much in the Budget about job creation.”
Wayne Caines, the national security minister, highlighted the recently passed Subsea Communications Act 2020, which helped Bermuda's chances of becoming the first landing hub for submarine communication cables in the Atlantic.
He said the legislation would “see us doing something that is revolutionary in this part of the world, bringing jobs, bringing people to this part of the world”.
Lawrence Scott, the Progressive Labour Party whip, said that it was important to look at “fact not fiction or rhetoric”.
He added: “The fact is that this economy is growing, this economy is stronger than it was last year. “The fact is Standard & Poor's is showing confidence in us. The fact is under the PLP this has become a better place, a more attractive place, to do business for international businesses.”
Mr Scott said: “Under the PLP administration, this will be a place that Bermudians will be looking forward to coming back to.”